Postgraduate Research

We offer 2 programmes within the department, a 3-year and 4-year programme. Our programmes are funded from many sources including the Research Councils (EPSRC, BBRSC, NERC and MRC), Charities, the European Community, US Government sources and industry in the UK, Europe and the USA.

PhD Chemistry (3-year)

PhD Chemistry

The 3-year Chemistry PhD programme is focused on a major piece of original research. You will study under the direct supervision of a member of staff, who is an expert in his or her area of specialisation. The department offers a broad range of research themes across physical, organic, inorganic and computational chemistry, specific departmental strengths are listed under research areas below.

Read more on the Chemistry PhD programme 

Wellcome Trust Interdisciplinary Programme in Structural, Computational and Chemical Biology (4-year)

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This unique programme offers opportunities to study at UCL, Birkbeck College and MRC-NIMR. Students are exposed to a wide range of training in protein structure, chemical biology and the computational tools necessary to address important problems in biomedicine.

Read more on the SCCB programme


 A 4-Year PhD Studentship in Lipid and Peptide Synthesis for the Delivery of Therapeutics (D/L 07/02/2022)

Supervisor: Professor Helen Hailes and Professor Alethea Tabor
Application deadline: 7 February 2022
Start date: 26 September 2022

A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship is available in the Department of Chemistry to work on a collaborative project with 4basebio on new lipids and peptides for the non-viral gene delivery of synthetic linear DNA (hpDNA) with Professor Helen Hailes and Professor Alethea Tabor, and Dr Heikki Lanckriet at 4basebio.

Synthetic hpDNA offers many advantages over plasmid DNA (pDNA) for use in gene and cell therapies. HpDNA lacks the bacterial backbone present in plasmids and is free from bacterial contaminants typically present in plasmid preparations. Moreover, it can be produced cost-effectively and can be scaled easily. However, the existing delivery systems for genetic payloads have been optimised for use with pDNA. This project will build upon the Department of Chemistry’s extensive expertise in the design of new lipids and peptides for formulation into lipoplexes and lipopolyplexes for the delivery of therapeutics. Lipids and peptides will be synthesised incorporating different structural features to aid stability in vivo, enhance cell-internalisation and release DNA via the incorporation of cleavable moieties. Characterisation of the nanoparticles will be performed to understand their size, architecture and stability. The student will gain expertise in synthetic organic chemistry, peptide synthesis, the use of a variety of analytical and characterisation techniques, such as HPLC and NMR spectroscopy, nanoparticle characterisation via biophysical techniques such as dynamic light scattering, zeta potential and electron microscopy. The student will also have the opportunity to undertake a 6-month industrial placement at 4basebio, Cambridge.

Applicants should have, or expect to gain, at least a 2.1 honours or equivalent at Masters level in Chemistry, Chemical Biology or a related discipline. They should be self-motivated, be keen to work on a collaborative interdisciplinary project with industry and have excellent experimental skills. Good communication skills (both presentation and writing skills in English) are also essential. UCL offers a world-leading scientific environment in the heart of London. 

Applications are welcome from UK nationals, EU students with settled/pre-settled status and students with indefinite leave to remain or enter. Please note that the studentship only covers home fees. The updated rules for eligibility for home fees are available at View Website
Applicants should send their applications (covering letter and CV including contact details for 2 referees) by email to Professor Helen Hailes (h.c.hailes@ucl.ac.uk). Please note that a suitable applicant will be required to complete MS Form entitled Application for Research: degree Chemistry programme. In addition, it is essential that suitable applicants complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply (please select Research degree: Chemistry programme) and advise their referees to submit their references before the application deadline. All shortlisted applicants will be invited for the interview no more than 4 weeks after the application deadline. 

 Any admissions queries should be directed to doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk

For further details about our research see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/people/helen-hailes
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/people/alethea-tabor and https://www.4basebio.com/. 


We offer an excellent education with high standards of teaching in an exciting but friendly environment. We foster a community feel to the department and you will mix throughout your time here with staff, undergraduate students and researchers.

UCL Scholarships: find the currently available Studentships with the Scholarships and funding tool.

Questions & Answers: There's a lot you should ask and a lot for us to tell you in our FAQ section.

Departmental Graduate Tutor
Professor Jim C. Anderson
Email: j.c.anderson@ucl.ac.uk

For all PGR enquiries contact:
Email: doctoral.chem@ucl.ac.uk